WASHINGTON — Most Americans reject the idea that inflammatory political language by conservatives should be part of the debate about the forces behind the Arizona shooting that left six people dead and a congresswoman in critical condition, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds.
A 53% majority of those surveyed call that analysis mostly an attempt to use the tragedy to make conservatives look bad. About a third, 35%, say it is a legitimate point about how dangerous language can be.
And there is little sense that stricter gun control laws in Arizona might have averted the tragedy. Only one in five say they would have prevented the shooting; 72% say tighter controls wouldn't have prevented it.
Meanwhile, former Alaska governorSarah Palinposted a statement and a video on herFacebookpage denouncing criticism that she bore some responsibility for the assassination attempt on Rep.Gabrielle Giffords. The congresswoman was one of 20 congressionalDemocratswhom Palin had targeted for defeat in November's elections on a map showing their congressional districts in cross hairs.
"Within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn," Palin wrote. "This is reprehensible."
The phrase "blood libel" is a false slur against Jews that has been used for centuries to justify their persecution.